U.S. Trade Rep details goals of Transatlantic Trade Partnership

By Daniel Enoch

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U.S. Trade Rep details goals of Transatlantic Trade Partnership

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2014 -- The U.S. Trade Representative's Office says the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) that is being negotiated with the European Union could help push American agricultural exports well beyond the $10 billion in farm goods the country shipped to the EU last year.

Together we can feed the Bees"

“Our goal in T-TIP is to help U.S. agricultural sales reach their full potential by eliminating tarriffs and quotas that stand in the way of exports,'' the USTR said yesterday in a fact sheet detailing the goals of the proposed treaty and its benefits. U.S. and EU officials are meeting in Brussels this week in the fourth round of negotiations on the trade and investment agreement.

The talks are aimed at reducing barriers to imports and exports of manufactured goods including textiles and apparel products and trade in services and electronic commerce, while protecting the environment and upholding internationally recognized rights of labor, according to the fact sheet. The document also mentions some specific goals for the agriculture sector, which shipped over $145 billion in farm goods to the world last year, an all-time high.

They include leveling the playing field for U.S. apple growers who pay more than 7 percent in duties when shipping to the EU, but whose European competitors pay no duties on shipments to the U.S., and reducing duties for U.S. olive oil, which is subject to $1,680 in duties per ton on shipments to the EU, while EU producers pay only $34 per ton on shipments to the U.S.

The USTR said U.S. negotiators are also seeking to eliminate non-tariff barriers that put U.S. producers at a disadvantage to their EU counterparts. These include sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) restrictions “that are not based on science, unjustified barrier to trade and other ‘behind-the-border barriers, including the restrictive administration of tariff-rate quotas and permit and licensing barriers.”

If we successfully address certain SPS barriers in T-TIP, Europeans will be able to enjoy safe, high-quality U.S. beef, pork, poultry, and other products that we currently ship to consumers all over the world,” the USTR said.

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